Gadgets For Power Outages (Especially Summer)

Came up in a convo with another member who’s in middle of a power outage. Thought it might be a good Off-Topic convo, given what is going on in various areas, with regard to wildfires and hurricanes, as well as general heat-wave brownouts that can occur anywhere when it’s really hot. I’ve never looked into this stuff all that much but have begun to be more serious about planning now. Imagine some of you guys are downright experts on some or all of this stuff.

Due to heat wave and fires, I recently had power outage for maybe 48 hours and it was a pretty big pain in the ass, even though I had family homes to go to within 20 minutes, and could easily go to nearby businesses with power, including my work office.

I think I’m probably gonna buy a generator, just because California fire season could be just an annual thing and we’re not through it. Biggest thing would be to be able to keep fridge running to not waste food. But also need to consider air pollution from fires that coincide with hot weather and blackouts/brownouts and need to run air filter machines.

  • Seems the Honda EU2200i inverter model is especially popular. Seen discussion expressing concern over ability to power a fridge for initial peak startup power.
  • There is a much cheaper Harbor Freight model that’s half as much, or less, and also a bigger capacity Harbor Freight 3500W model that’s still much cheaper than the Honda.
  • Also people are recommending consideration of dual fuel models (gas and propane).
  • And recommendation for considering non-inverter, though I haven’t bothered to try to understand why, yet.

For charging mobile devices and flashlights and even USB powered/charging portable fans, one can just get high-capacity Lithium Ion battery packs. Like the small ones everyone has for emergency charging of phones, just bigger. You can get batteries with like 25-50mAh, or higher, with USB ports and even an AC outlet, good for like 120W peak draw for around $100, depending on capacity. Got another one that’ll also jumpstart a car battery.

  • Could definitely also/instead get Uninterruptible Power Supplies sold for computer use that are basically big-ass battery that’s meant to power computer and other IT equipment to allow for graceful shutdown and protect against surges. Not meant to power them for long periods, but I’d imagine can power laptops and especially small/mobile devices for many hours.
  • There’s also home batteries like Tesla Powerwall for emergency power backup. Something I’m starting to consider for real, in conjunction with solar panel installation.
  • And on the matter of solar, even if not getting a home installation, can get a/some smaller panels for sustained emergency device charging…and use them for camping situations too.

And I’ve accumulated a bunch of LED lights with internal batteries: flashlights, “work lights”, even desk lights and gooseneck clamp lights. These things can run for hours on their internal battery because of how efficient the LEDs are to power. There’s zero need for candles or gas lamps any more, which I guess is maybe stating the obvious.

Also have some small fans that operate off of battery and/or USB power. Can easily cool down a person enough for sleep during a heat wave to not be agony.

Typically, the cell towers don’t go down with the power, so can at least use phones for entertainment. Or as hot spots for tablets or laptops.

And I’m a little curious if, during a neighborhood blackout, if my Comcast Cable would still be working as long as I can power it with a battery/generator. Doesn’t take much to power a modem and network router.

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not too informed on generators, but keep a couple power inverters for the vehicles (both my wife and my vehicle have them built in now)

Led lights are fantastic on power consumption smart having those around

Good old board games are nice in outages also

Also my cable goes out when power dies

True! Getting old-fashioned is almost kind of fun. Nice to drag some lawn chairs out into the yard and sip cool drinks from an ice chest. Listen to podcasts or music for entertainment, like it’s the pre-TV era.

Oof. Even if your modem and router are on battery power?

I guess not that surprising that the cable company would have a neighborhood station that relies on power grid and doesn’t have emergency backup power.

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